Your money has power are you using it?
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” - Anna Lappe
How do you feel when you spend money?
Guilty, resentful, stressed? Or happy, relaxed, grateful?
Most of us have a pretty complex relationship with money and spending it can bring up lot of emotions. This means our purchases often end up falling into two categories. Things we feel we have no choice about buying and items we feel guilty about buying. It’s no wonder then that money can feel disempowering.
The truth is we have more power as consumers than we think. Businesses spend millions every day vying for our attention.
Did you know that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day?
Yes, a day!
You always have a choice as to how you spend your money. Even in situations where you think you don’t. You can always choose how you feel about it.
Let’s take the example of a parking ticket. You can feel resentful about paying the ticket, or you can see the money as supporting the service that means you have somewhere to park your car. Believe me, the second option is much better for your blood pressure.
This week, we’re going to try an exercise to change how we feel about spending.
👀The Spending Detective 👀
The aim of this exercise is to review how you spend every single penny for a day. Taking the lead from Anne Lappe, what kind of world are you voting for?
To do this you need to track your spending. This means making a note of everything you buy for a day. Your train fare, cup of coffee, lunch, any credit card payments, the money you gave to a homeless guy, rent, mobile bill, absolutely everything.
At the end of the day take time to review each of those payments. Was it joyful? If not, why not?
Was it money you didn’t need to spend? What change would you need to make to switch that spending to something that would feel good? Often we need to change a habit to change our spending. How good was that cup of coffee, could you find a better one by taking a new route to work?
Next, were there any expenses you feel you have no choice over? Did you pay tax or national insurance? Even though these are deductions, they are payments you are making and it can help to shift how you view them. See the money you are spending as paying for essential services, supporting those who are less fortunate and making the world a better place.
Do the same for utility bills. The gas and electricity keeps your home warm and comfortable. The water bill means you have clean water and sanitation something many people on the planet don’t have.
Train and bus fares? See them as paying for the drivers and everyone who works to maintain the system and support their families.
Are there any expenditures you can switch to businesses you respect? Maybe a local business rather than a high street chain? Or a business with an ethical supply chain?
Once you’ve reviewed your spending and made any changes, check in and see how you’re feeling. Has how you feel about spending changed?
This exercise may take some time but it’s worth it. We make decisions every day based on money. It is a constant in our lives and we devote large amounts of time to making it, so how about setting aside some time to enjoy how we spend it?